We had a somewhat complicated Mothers Day. We have been doing every 3 hours barn checks because we have a ewe Moll due last Friday. At the 7:30 AM check I noticed her lambs seems to have dropped, and she was separated from the flock. So I figured she was in early labor. Both Tom and I had plans for Mothers Day brunches with our families so we tossed a coin and ultimately Tom decided he would cut his visit short to monitor the lambing. I then thought that if she ate well she probably was not going to lamb in the next hour or so and that could help us decide. She ate very well so we decided that Tom could see his mother but be back by noon (about 2 hours). So I asked him to keep me up to date by text messaging what was happening.
So I am having a lovely brunch with the family when I get a text that her water had broke but no obvious labor. She did push out a sack but no signs of a lamb. 45 minutes total went by with nothing so Tom checked internally while I said my goodbyes and drove home. Then I got on my cell phone (hands-free) and talked to Tom while he sorted out the problem. He felt two legs that he thought were front legs but initially could not find the head. Then he found the head but could not get his hand nor fingers behind it to pull. He could not get a good grip on the lamb to pull, and Moll still was not pushing to help him. The lamb felt large to him. Tom is very experienced with animal birth because of his years working at dairies, but he has very large hands, and it is difficult for him to assist with sheep deliveries for this reason. Neither of us considered this when we made the coin toss in the morning.
He kept trying and trying and could not get his fingers nor snares over the lambs head to pull it. Moll finally started to push but no progress was being made. He tried to use extra lubricant to help to slide the head out and also tried wiping the legs with a towel to get a better grip. Finally he used a halter wrapped around the legs and was able to pull the lamb out. The lamb was not breathing. He tried stimulation and CPR but could not revive it. Very quickly Moll pushed out a second lamb that was smaller than the first. It was slow to breath and move, and Moll was quite slow to lick it, but at least it was alive.
It was surreal for me to drive 1 hour on a gorgeous sunny spring day with birds flying in the sky and flowers blooming on a day to celebrate motherhood and talk to an increasingly frustrated husband and listen to the saga of a dead lamb.
But Tom was able to save this little guy.
We are calling him Little Magner. He is an all black ram lamb. Below he is standing and nursing by himself for the first time. Welcome to the world, Little Magner. I am sorry about your big brother but glad you are here with us this Mothers Day.